Zirconium (Zr) – Periodic Table (Element Information & More)

Zirconium (Zr) element Periodic table

This is a SUPER easy guide on Zirconium element.

In fact, the table mentioned below is the perfect information box (Which gives you every single detail about the Zirconium element in Periodic table.)

So if you want to know anything about Zirconium element, then this guide is for you.

Let’s finish this very quickly.

Zirconium Element (Zr) Information

Appearance of Zirconium Appearance of zirconium
Silvery white
State of Zirconium at STPSolid
Position of Zirconium in Periodic tableZirconium in periodic table (Position)
Group: 4, Period: 5, Block: d
Category of Zirconium elementZirconium element category
Transition metals
Atomic number of Zirconium, or 
Protons in Zirconium
40
Neutrons in Zirconium51
Electrons in Zirconium40
Symbol of Zirconium Zr
Atomic mass of Zirconium Zirconium (Zr) atomic mass
91.224 u
Electrons arrangement in Zirconium

or 

Bohr model of Zirconium
Bohr model of zirconium (Electrons arrangement in zirconium, Zr)
2, 8, 18, 10, 2
Electronic configuration of Zirconium[Kr] 4d2 5s2
Atomic radius of ZirconiumZirconium (Zr) atomic radius
186 picometers (van der Waals radius)
1st Ionization energy of Zirconium6.634 eV
Electronegativity of Zirconium Electronegativity of Zirconium (Zr)
1.33 (Pauling scale)
Crystal structure of Zirconiumcrystal structure of zirconium
HCP (Hexagonal close packing)
Melting point of Zirconium2128 K or 1855 °C or 3371 °F
Boiling point of Zirconium4650 K or 4377 °C or 7911 °F
Density of Zirconium6.511 g/cm3
Main isotope of Zirconium90Zr
Who discovered Zirconium and when?Who discovered Zirconium and when?
Martin Heinrich Klaproth in 1789
CAS number7440-67-7

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Zirconium in Periodic table

Zirconium element is in group 4 and period 5 of the Periodic table. Zirconium is the d-block element and it belongs to Transition metals group.

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Why is Zirconium in Period 5?

Why is Zirconium in Period 5

Let me ask you a question.

How many shells does Zirconium have?

It’s 4. Right? 

You have already seen the bohr model of zirconium atom in the above table.

From the Bohr model, it can be found that the number of orbits or shells in zirconium is 5. Hence, as zirconium has 5 orbits, it lies in period 5 of the Periodic table. 

Why is Zirconium in d-block?

Why is Zirconium in d-block

Before knowing this reason, first of all I want to ask you a simple question.

How can you determine the blocks-wise position of elements?

The simple answer: The elements will lie in the s, p, d or f block will completely depend upon the subshell in which the last electron will enter.

For example; the electron configuration of zirconium is [Kr] 5s2 4d2.

So the last electron of zirconium enters the d-subshell or d-orbital. 

Hence, zirconium is the d-block element.

Is Zirconium a Transition Metal? Why?

Is Zirconium a Transition Metal

Yes, Zirconium is a transition metal because it has incompletely filled d-orbital in its ground state.

Let me explain the exact meaning of this.

According to the definition of transition metals;
The element should compulsorily have incomplete d-orbitals, either in their ground state (M) or most common oxidation states (M1+, M2+, etc) then only they are called transition metals.

Now, the ground state of Zirconium means its normal state in which it has neither gained nor lost any electron/s.

So the ground state of Zirconium is Zr.

And the ground state electronic configuration of Zirconium is [Kr] 5s2 4d2.

In this state, if we see the electron configuration of Zirconium, then it possesses incomplete d-orbitals.

electron configuration of Zirconium

Because, there are only two electrons in the d-orbitals. 

In order to have the complete d-orbitals, there must be 10 electrons in it.

But in the ground state electronic configuration of zirconium, you can see that it has only 2 electrons in d-orbitals.

Thus, Zirconium has incomplete d-orbitals.

And hence, as Zirconium has incomplete d-orbitals, it is considered as a transition metal.

8 Interesting facts about Zirconium

Interesting facts about zirconium element are mentioned below.

  1. The name zirconium was derived from the Persian word “Zargun” (meaning gold color).
  2. The abundance of zirconium in earth’s crust is around 165 ppm (parts per million) by weight.
  3. In ancient ages, zirconium was used in decorative items as well as in jewelry. [1]
  4. Martin Heinrich Klaproth was a German chemist who discovered zirconium in 1789 from Berlin (the sample of zirconium silicate was from Sri Lanka).
  5. In the entire world, the total amount of zirconium production is around 7000 tons per year.
  6. Australia and South Africa are the places from where most of the zirconium is obtained.
  7. Around 58% of the world’s total zirconium production is done in Australia.
  8. Zirconium is also present in the Sun as well as meteorites.

Properties of Zirconium

The physical and chemical properties of zirconium element are mentioned below.

Physical properties of Zirconium

Physical properties of zirconium are mentioned below.

  • Zirconium is a transition metal having a Silvery white appearance.
  • Zirconium is a malleable and ductile metal. Hence it can be drawn into sheets and wires.
  • The melting point of zirconium is 1855 °C and its boiling point is 4377 °C.
  • The atomic mass of zirconium is 91.224 u and its density is 6.511 g/cm3.
  • Zirconium has natural as well as synthetic isotopes, but out of them the most abundant stable isotope is 90Zr (its abundance is 51%).

Chemical properties of Zirconium

Chemical properties of zirconium are mentioned below.

  • Zirconium has incomplete d-orbitals and hence it is classified as a transition metal on the periodic table.
  • The powdered form of zirconium is flammable.
  • Zirconium metal is resistant to corrosion. Hence it is used in manufacturing the components like surgical appliances, lamp filaments, etc.

Uses of Zirconium

Uses of zirconium are mentioned below.

  • Zirconium is used as an alloying metal in manufacturing of metals like steel.
  • There is current research going on regarding zirconium metal that may help in fighting cancer in near future.
  • Zirconium looks similar to that of diamond, hence it has been used as a gemstone.
  • Zircaloy is an alloy that contains zirconium metal, has various nuclear applications (like cladding of nuclear fuel, etc.)
  • Zirconia (an oxide containing zirconium) is used in crucibles that helps it to withstand higher temperatures.
  • Zirconium is also found in the human body that is obtained from foods like wheat, eggs, brown rice, spinach, etc. but zirconium has no biological functions. [2]

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References:
Chemical data: Wikipedia, Chemspider
Zirconium element: Image by Alchemist-hp, via Wikimedia Commons
Martin Heinrich Klaproth: Image via wikimedia commons

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